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June 19th , 2024                  Len’s Political Note #651 Henry Cuellar TX 28.

2024                                         General Election

Henry Cuellar 

Since 2017 when I began Len’s Political Notes, I avoided picking favorites during primaries.  I made an exception for when it seemed certain who the primary would select, then broadened that exception to when it seemed probable who the primary would select.  My goal has been to elect Democrats because I thought Donald Trump was dangerous to America.  I began after his inauguration.

I have made mistakes and misread the circumstances a few times.  Twice, though, I violated my rule intentionally. I considered it seriously a third time.

In 2024, I was disappointed that Tammy Murphy announced her candidacy for the Senate.  Senator Bob Menendez had been damaged by his indictment and Democrats already had an outstanding candidate – Congressman Andy Kim. I was afraid that the presence of Tammy Murphy, the Governor’s wife, in the Democratic primary could Menendez nominated despite his troubles leading to the election of a Republican.

Not possible in New Jersey? I remember Republican Scott Brown being elected to the US Senate in Massachusetts in 2010 and Democrat Doug Jones being elected to the US Senate in Alabama in 2017.

In 2020, for the second time, Marie Newman ran against incumbent Democrat Dan Lipinski for the Democratic nomination for IL 03.  She had national support from Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and others supported her. While much of the contest had to do with progressive Democrats versus moderates, there was no bigger issue on the table than abortion.  The incumbent, Dan Lipinski, was actively anti-abortion.  It was for the latter reason, I wrote a Political Note in 2018 on behalf of Jessica Cisneros.

In 2022, for the second time, Jessica Cisneros ran against incumbent Democrat Henry Cuellar for the Democratic nomination for TX 28.  While much of the contest had to do with progressive Democrats versus moderates, there was no bigger issue on the table than abortion.  The incumbent, Henry Cuellar was actively anti-abortion.  I considered writing a Political Note on behalf of Jessica Cisneros as I had done for Marie Newman.  I demurred.

Today, I write to urge my readers to support Henry Cuellar. Not because I like his politics any better.  Or his judgment.  But I would like to flip the House of Representatives to Democratic control.

Henry Cuellar lost his first race for Congress.  In 2008, he saw that redistricting made TX 23 unwinnable. Instead, he ran in TX 28, defeated a friend and mentor (such as they are in politics) in the primary in an extremely close race. He won the general election 59 – 39. TX 28 is a north-south district, running from the US-Mexico border north of Monterey, Mexico to the outskirts of San Antonio.

Henry Cuellar kept on winning even though he became a target for progressive Democrats.  In 2020, he won the primary 51.8-48.2; the general 58.3 -39.  In 2022, he won the primary 48.7 – 46.6; the general 56.6 – 43.4. In 2024, he had no primary opponent.

Henry Cuellar had established himself.  His parents were Mexican immigrants.  His dad was a laborer.  Henry went to the local community college in Laredo.  He found his way through education, by going away and coming home.  He got his Bachelor’s Degree, graduating cum laude, from Georgetown.  Attracted to Washington DC and, perhaps,  to a Catholic School, he washed dishes and did other work to pay his way.  He returned home to get a Master’s Degree at Texas A & M’s Laredo Campus, dubbed Texas A & M International University.  With degrees in hand, he was elected a state rep.  He took advantage of being in Austin.  He got a law degree from the University of Texas, a PhD in government from the same institution, and was appointed Secretary of State by governor Rick Perry, though he lasted in that position for only nine months.

Elected to Congress, he has been a conservative Democrat.  In addition to being anti-abortion and unsupportive about gun safety, he has supported private prisons, drone surveillance on the border, and tougher border enforcement.  He opposed making organizing easier for labor unions. He has opposed marijuana decriminalization. He gets corporate funding, support from oil and gas interests. His conservative connections probably made it possible to create a Laredo based congressional district which he won in a primary by 45 votes.

Henry Cuellar did support Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and led an effort to study and then support a San Antonio to Monterrey, Mexico rail line.  He has also been an advocate for the colonias, unincorporated settlements in Texas which do not get help with water or sewerage or other necessities.  Despite his support for infrastructure, he has disagreed so often with Democrats that Pro Publica created a page listing nearly 60 votes he has taken against the majority of Democrats.

How could it be then that he was a favorite of the previous House leadership under Nancy Pelosi and is now a favorite of the current house leadership under Hakeem Jeffries?  It is, I believe, more than their natural reluctance to see any incumbent succumb to either a Republican or an insurgent Democrat.  The House Leadership understands the extent to which the Latino community is conservative on many issues.  Henry Cuellar is a link to that conservative part of the Democratic Party’s base.  The leadership wants to keep that link.

Henry Cuellar’s indictment in May came after the possibility of any challenge within the party.  What is more the two possible competitors for the Republican nomination were already identified.  Republican Jay Furman won the runoff easily – 65 – 35.

About 47% of the people in TX 28 describe themselves as Hispanic.  A larger percentage, almost 60% reported the primary language spoken at home is not English.  The district is growing more prosperous. Between 2021 and 2022, the median household income increased from $56,000+ to nearly $61,000.  I do not have an explanation for that startling change.

The Republican nominee, Jay Furman, speaks English at home.  He retired from the navy as a Commander. He describes himself as a Christian, Husband, Family Man, Veteran, Patriot, Whistleblower, Community Leader- America 1st. He urges his followers on X to “Become a Trump Force 47 Captain Today”

  1. Register as Trump Force 47 Captain
  2. Attend 1 hour training
  3. Visit ten targeted voters
  4. Be recognized for doing your part to save America

He adds:

“Today’s Democrats are the most radical and lawless in history. South Texans did not vote for: fake borders, gender madness, a weakened military, sky-high prices, energy dependence, another foreign war, arrested political enemies, spying on the American public and Church, giving up our gun rights. Rep. Henry Cuellar is, in no way a radical. He has voted with President Biden 95% of the time.”

The indictment has weakened Henry Cuellar.  Whether it has weakened him enough for Republicans to target him is unclear.  I will encourage you to consider making a donation – just enough to show the Republicans that Henry Cuellar has not been abandoned.  If Democrats are going to control the House of Representatives, they will need evey single vote they can get.

If it turns out that Henry Cuellar is convicted of having been bribed by Azerbaijan through a Mexican bank or in some other way, he will undoubtedly resign. He would not be alone.  Here is a list of Congressional felony indictments in the past 15 years and what happened to them:

Congressional felonies for the last 15 years

  1. Rick Renzi (R, AZ 01). Feb. 2008 Indicted, Aug,2008 announced he would not run for reelection, June 2013 convicted, Oct 2013 sentenced – 3 years prison, Trump pardoned him Jan 2021 after complaints of prosecutorial misconduct
  2. Ted Stevens (R, AK Sen) July 2008 Indicted, Oct 2008 convicted, Nov 2008 defeated for reelection, April 2009 case set aside for prosecutorial misconduct, died Aug 2010
  3. Michael Grimm (R, NY 13) April 2014 indicted, Nov 2014 reelected, Dec 2014 convicted, resigned Jan 2015, He began 8 month prison term Sept 2015, June 2016 lost primary election.
  4. Chaka Fatta (D, PA 02) July 2015 indicted, June 2016 convicted, June 2016 resigned, Dec 2016 sentenced to 10 years in prison, Aug 2018 part of the conviction overturned on appeal, July 2019 10 year sentence for the remaining offenses confirmed. He was released from prison in the Summer of 2020.
  5. Bob Menendez (D NJ Sen) April, 2015 indicted, Sept 2017 trial began, Nov 2017. Hung jury and mistrial declared, Jan 2018. Judge rules out 7 of 18 counts in retrial effort. Jan 2018, Justice Department drops case. Nov 2018 reelected, Sept 2023 new indictment. Jan 2024 superseding indictment. March 2024 announced he will not run in Dem primary, but could run as an independent, May 2024 trial began.
  6. Corrine Brown (D FL 17) July 2016 indicted. Aug 2016 lost primary, May 2017 convicted, sentenced to 5 years in prison, served 2. May 2021 conviction overturned on appeal due to improper jury service. May 2022 pled guilty and convicted, paid restitution, June, 2022 announced candidacy for FL 10, Aug, 2022, lost primary.
  7. Chris Collins (R NY 27) Aug 2018 indicted, Nov 2018 reelected, Sep 2019 pled guilty, Sep 2019 resigned, Dec 2020 pardoned by Trump
  8. Duncan Hunter (R CA 50) Aug 2018 indicated, Nov 2018 reelected, Dec 2019 pled guilty, Jan 2020 resigned, March, 2020 sentenced to 11 months in prison (to begin Jan 2021), Jan 2021 pardoned by Trump.
  9. Jeff Fortenberry (R NE 01) Oct 2021 indicted, March 2022 convicted, March 2022 resigned. June 2022 sentenced to 2 years probation, December 2023 Appeals court overturned conviction due to improper site for the trial.
  10. Donald Trump (R Pres US) March 2023 indicted. May 2024 convicted.
  11. George Santos (R NY 03) Oct 2023 indicted. Dec 2023 expelled by House of Representatives
  12. Henry Cuellar (D TX 28) May 2024 Indicted

While we and he wait to learn the results of a prosecution by a Justice Department that is clearly not focused on discrediting Republicans, support Henry Cuellar now.  We need him in Congress.  DONATE TO HENRY CUELLAR.

Don’t forget to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

There could be presidential election years where it did not matter whether or not you donated to the presidential campaign.  Not this year.

  • 2020 was relatively close. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won: 51.3 – 46.8.  The electoral college was 306-232, but several states were close enough that the electoral college could have gone the other way.
  • As of 4/30/24, since 1/1/21, the Biden-Harris campaign had received $195 million. Open Secrets reports that outside organizations supporting that campaign had received $111 million. The Trump campaign had received $121 million. Open Secrets reports that outside organizations supporting that campaign had received $123 million.  Until we learn more officially about funds raised after Trump’s conviction, we can assume those figures are an accurate reflection of the relative financial strength of the two campaigns.
  • In May, an even number of polls showed Trump and Biden leading. Almost all of those leads were close. We will have to watch in June to see if there are enough polls to know whether there are changes after Trump’s conviction.
  • DONATE TO JOE BIDEN AND KAMALA HARRIS See Len’s Political Note #605


Texas races to consider

 US Senate


Congressman Colin Allred is running against Senator Ted Cruz – thought by many to be the least popular man in the entire Senate.  Colin Allred is a former football player at Baylor and in the NFL.  He got his law degree at the University of California – Berkeley, worked in the Obama administration, and then in private practice in Texas.  Elected to Congress in 2018, TX 32 is on a line running from Plano southeast past Dallas. He was a politically moderate member of congress, particularly effective at bringing resources to his district.  Previous US Senate elections include John Cornyn’s 10 point win in 2020 and Ted Cruz’s 2 ½ point victory of Beto O’Rourke in 2018.  As of March 31, he Colin Allred had $10.5 million in his campaign account to Ted Cruz’s $9.4 million.  The most recent polls reported by 538 were from April.  They showed Colin Allred trailing by 5, 9, 10, and 13 points.

DONATE TO COLIN ALLRED. Be skeptical of all of these figures.  Polls are not yet reliable.  Much of the money spent will come from outside sources which are not reported by candidates.  Just keep on helping. See Len’s Political Note #560

US House

Texas 15

Businesswoman and activist Michelle Vallejo graduated from Columbia in New York City and returned home to help with the family business and to work on behalf of her community.  In 2022, she lost to Realtor Monica De La Cruz 53 – 45.  She is back to try again.  There are no relevant polls available.  Michelle Vallejo has $500,000 to De La Cruz’s $1.5 million.  If Michelle Vallejo can come close to De La Cruz’s totals, she has a chance to win the election.   DONATE TO MICHELLE VALLEJO.  See Len’s Political Note #567

Texas 34

Incumbent Vicente Gonzalez is a high school drop out.  He got his GED, went to community college, and got his BA from an Aeronautical University at the Corpus Christi Naval base.  Then he got his law degree from Texas Wesleyan.  Having graduated, he founded his own firm.  Ten years later, he ran for Congress – an open Democratic seat, TX 15.  He continued winning and justifiably earned a reputation as a business-oriented Member of Congress. He was a member of the bi-partisan Problem Solvers’ Caucus.  He has been stridently anti-Trump and described Hispanics organized for Trump to a fictitious organization “Jews for Hitler.”

In 2022, seeing the effect of redistricting, he announced he would run for TX 34 instead of TX 15.  He defeated Mayra Flores, a respiratory therapist who had been elected mid-term in TX 34 when the DCCC Chair decided there was no point to supporting mid-term elections.  Vicente Gonzalez won the 2022 election 57 – 44.  On March 31, he led in the money race $1.5 million to $800,000.  He led in a Republican funded poll in April by 3, but trailed in another Republican funded poll by 1 in May.

DONATE TO VICENTE GONZALES Keep him ahead in the money race; ensure that he is ahead in non-partisan polls including the November election. See Len’s Political Note #569

 Texas Supreme Court                  See Len’s Political Note #646


  • Court of Criminal Appeals – All three Republicans candidates, with the support of Attorney General Kenneth Paxton and former President Donald Trump, ousted Republican incumbent Justices.
    • Presiding Judge
      • Travis County DA Appeals Team Supervisor Holly Taylor (D)
      • Attorney David Schenck (R )(Clients include the NRA)
    • Place 7
      • District Court Judge Nancy Mulder (D) v
      • Dental Creations Inc. official Gina Parker (R )
    • Place 8
      • District Court Judge Chika Anyiam (D) v
      • Attorney Lee Finlay practiced law in Plano
    • Texas Supreme Court (Hears civil cases) (Devine, who describes himself as a religiously oriented activist, was very nearly defeated in the Republican primary)
      • Place 2
        • Army Reserve Judge Advocate DeSean Jones (D) v
        • Incumbent Justice Jimmy Blalock (R )
      • Place 4
        • Attorney Christine Vinh Weems (D) v
        • Incumbent Justice John Devine (R )
      • Place 6
        • District Appeals Court Judge Bonnie Lee Goldstein (D)
        • Incumbent Justice Jane Nenninger Bland (R )